Wednesday, July 31, 2013

On the pope, gay people, and being a judge

So the pope has made some waves, I hear. He's gone and said that he's not in a place to judge gay people who are seeking God. That's pretty cool.

Now if I understand the context correctly, he was actually talking about gay priests who have to be celibate anyway. So--and again, this is if I understand correctly, which I might not--there's still a certain air of, "Well, it's fine if you're gay, just as long as you don't go and do anything about it."

But still, a pretty powerful statement from the leader of the Catholic church. And one that certainly resonates with biblical texts, what with "Do not judge, so that you may not be judged" (Matt 7:1 or Luke 6:37) or the whole "the one who judges being the one who was judged unjustly" thing.

But I actually disagree. I think we're in a pretty competent place to judge.

It's just that we've been flat out judging wrong for a really long time.

We've got all the resources to make the correct judgment that LGBTQ folks are created in the image of God, gifted by God, and called by God. We've got plenty of reasons to judge that the church shouldn't for one second think about getting in the way of that image, those gifts, and that call. We've got all the information we need to judge that gay people are human beings, and that they deserve rights and dignity and love. We've got the church membership data and the biblical texts about God's extravagant welcome to those "on the outside" and the answer to the question "Who's my neighbor."

Do you know who else is in a position to judge? Gay people. They're in the position, in my opinion, to judge society and to judge, perhaps particularly harshly, the church. For being exclusive and narrow-minded and downright mean. With every friend I know who leaves the ordination process or switches denominations because the church won't honor their call; with every young person I talk to who sees the church as basically a haven for bigots; with every church trial I hear about, I am again reminded: we are being judged.

And things are not going in our favor.

It's time that we discern something more in-depth than "we agree to disagree." It's time to judge, justly. Which should have been the point all along.

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